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Peters: Budget in Reply Speech

Rt Hon Winston Peters
New Zealand First Leader
15 May 2014

Budget in Reply Speech
Thursday 15 May, 4pm

Speaking on behalf of the fastest rising political party in New Zealand, New Zealand First says that in this National Party Budget –

CRONIES GET CAKE - KIWIS GET CRUMBS.

This Budget is exclusively for members of the National Club - there is little for the people.

It doesn’t take the heat off Judith Collins.

Where is the practical economic strategy to address the weaknesses of the economy and growing inequality?

Shameful inequality in New Zealand is clear and deeply troubling.

This Budget will benefit National’s cronies.

Everyone from Balclutha to Beijing now knows the best Blue Chip investment to make in New Zealand is a donation to the National Party.

The weakness of the economy is there for anyone who lifts the engine bonnet to see what is really happening with the engine.

Despite the best terms of trade in decades we still have a chronic balance of payments deficit that the Budget pretended was not there.

Where is the action on the fact that we have not had a balance of payments surplus for years?

CRONIES GET CAKE- KIWIS GET CRUMBS

Over the period between the end of 2008 and 2013 Australia’s economy grew 13%.

Singapore grew over 28%.

And New Zealand grew 8%.

You call that a rock star economy!

Under this Government, New Zealand is heading to rock bottom.

So there is a small, highly contrived, budget surplus – like some backdoor bookkeeper’s balance.

Look at the facts.

When National came into Government, crown debt was $10 billion – now it is $60 billion.

Six times the increase in debt – from the brilliant money trader and the economic genius from Dipton!

Which begs the real question - how was this so called surplus generated?

If this was a private company the auditors would be in jail!

Lots of smoke and mirrors - all sorts of cuts and devices have been used.

We have a massive problem with hundreds of rotting school class rooms – there have been scores of cuts in crucial public service areas such as conservation and bio-security.

And what of forgotten Christchurch?

Worst of all, what sort of Government holds back money from the Christchurch rebuild to manipulate a surplus?

You don’t have to tell the people of Christchurch facing another terrible winter - they know that they are being sacrificed so the Government can boast about its books.

Tell the Christchurch people whose homes are flooded every time it rains that the fiddled books are more important than their lives.

Holding back on the vitally needed money to rebuild Christchurch to generate the so called surplus amounts to a crime against our own people.

The facts are clear – the Government has jacked up the numbers from an insurance deal when AMI was taken over.

AMI was turned into Southern Response Earthquake Services and there the fiddling started.

The proceeds from this sale amounted to $252 million which was placed in government bonds rather than settle insurance claims.

A government deal with Southern Response requires them to put surplus cash on its books into government bonds as well.

This has been boosted by money coming in from reinsurance companies – also going into government bonds.

How much? They now hold over half a billion in government bonds.

The interest on the bonds alone equals the surplus.

Bill English boasted about it today.

So – behold – the books balance!

Let these economic gurus from the National Cronies Club go and tell the Christchurch people in broken homes, begging for relief, what is happening to their relief.

UNDER NATIONAL CRONIES GET CAKE - KIWIS GET CRUMBS

And what about jobs?

Where in this Budget is there a real – measurable action plan for jobs?

There are still almost 150,000 unemployed.

And if you add those who want to work but who have become under employed, or just given up trying, the number is more like 250,000.

Unemployment is our single biggest problem.

Kiwis can’t get jobs but tens of thousands of foreign students and immigrants are given work visas.

UNDER NATIONAL CRONIES GET CAKE- KIWIS GET CRUMBS

Where is the action plan in the Budget for the cost of living?

Over half those employed in New Zealand had no pay increase last year.

Wages are stagnating.

But costs are going up.

The electricity sector is generating price hikes and gouging the public without restraint.

Another cold winter for pensioners and low income families.

UNDER NATIONAL CRONIES GET CAKE - KIWIS GET CRUMBS

Where in the Budget is the plan for halting the fire sale of New Zealand?

The Budget does nothing to counter the loss of our productive asset base.

Much of our prime agricultural land has gone into foreign ownership.

Many New Zealand workers have ended up as cheap labour for overseas investors to exploit.

Why is there no action?

BECAUSE UNDER NATIONAL CRONIES GET CAKE - KIWIS GET CRUMBS

Where is the admission that the housing crisis is due to National’s incompetence?

For almost six years National has allowed, indeed promoted, a housing crisis by blatantly ignoring all the underlying causes.

Everyone with a brain knows that tens of thousands of Auckland houses have been gobbled up by overseas buyers – it’s been a bonanza for foreigners.

Foreigners come here with no restrictions – no requirements - no taxes. Come one come all.

Treasury predicts migration to go up to over 41,000 people a year.

National have been behaving like the “fifth column” that is actually working for foreigners and not their own citizens.

What we have seen is National’s utter madness in the face of the facts on foreign buyers of our housing stock.

And of course they do not want facts – they much prefer dogma.

REMEMBER, UNDER NATIONAL CRONIES GET CAKE - KIWIS GET CRUMBS

Where is there a real infrastructure plan that goes beyond building more motorways?

The Budget has done nothing significant for infrastructure.

Auckland has a deep infrastructure deficit thanks to rapid population growth and decades of underinvestment in public transport.

The Budget could have grasped the nettle and committed to the Auckland City Rail
Link - but that would have required vision.

But no, as usual, National has taken the easy way out and kicked this vital project into the long grass.

Why is there no plan to promote regional growth?

Why does this Government keep breaking the heart of the heartland?

Yet again there is nothing substantial or meaningful in the Budget for the regions.

They produce export wealth and in return get exploited!

WHO BENEFITS? CRONIES GET CAKE - KIWIS GET CRUMBS

The 2014 Budget has been weighed in the balance and has been found wanting
It is shallow – and empty.

New Zealand deserves better - and after 20 September New Zealand First will ensure we get a real economic strategy for the challenges our country faces.

We are going to go back to the glory days of New Zealand in the past to give you a better New Zealand of the future.

We neither believe in blanket socialism or neo-liberal economics.

We do not believe in selling our land to foreign interests and we believe that state owned assets should be held in trust for the people.

The Government’s role is to protect and defend the people - to be guardians of the country’s resources.

It must help the people reach their potential through sound and enlightened health, education, housing and employment policies.

They all say it – but New Zealand First acts on it.

We also believe in special obligations to the old and the young – society’s most vulnerable.

We believe in one law for all – irrespective of ethnic background.

Not the crumbs of tokenism from the Cronies Club Tables!

We believe that Maori needs are the same as all New Zealanders. They need good education, housing, health facilities and most of all they need good paying jobs.

New Zealand First believes that we must train, skill, educate and employ our own people first.

There’s no excuse for the hiring of cheap labour from overseas when so many are on the unemployment scrap heap back here.

On the issue of foreigners speculating on housing in New Zealand – we’ve had the courage to say it for years but successive governments have refused to act.

New Zealand’s economy suffers from not having a practical plan for its people.

Blind ideology is not a substitute.

The current economic vision is simply the Auckland housing bubble, increased immigration creating consumer demand, the staggered Christchurch rebuild, and milk powder to China.

We cannot survive without a much more diversified economy.

National should hang their heads in shame.

ENDS

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